Makahiki is Aulani’s character dining experience. Not only is it Aulani’s only character dining experience, it’s also Aulani’s only buffet! So if you’re used to Disney’s buffet classic character buffet meals, then you’ll likely want to try Makahiki at Aulani. We’ve talked about Ama Ama’s elevated, classy menu, but Makahiki has a low key menu with items available for every palate.
The Atmosphere at Makahiki
Pretty much like the rest of Aualni(and the rest of Oahu), Makahiki has a laid back atmosphere. Family friendly and casual, this meal is great whether you’re traveling with little ones or on an adult only trip.
There is both indoor and outdoor seating at Makahiki. Indoors you are surrounded by gorgeous mosaic art and outside you can enjoy views of the Koi Pond. The Koi are so fun to watch and the setting is just beautiful so you really can’t go wrong either way!
For breakfast, you can enjoy Aunty’s breakfast celebration, complete with Aunty telling stories and playing Ukele! It’s super fun and we didn’t find it as chaotic as some of the character meals at Walt Disney World.
At dinnertime, Uncle shares stories of the Menehune through music and storytelling. We didn’t get to experience dinner here, but we did love Uncle’s fireside stories at Aulani and have a feeling we would have loved this as well.
Both meals also offer character meet and greets, featuring some of our favorite Disney pals in full Hawaiian tourist gear! Expect to see Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and maybe a few others come to your table during your meal. Be sure to have your cameras ready because these are super fun character meets you won’t want to miss!
The Food at Makahiki
We only had breakfast at Makahiki, and we absolutely loved it. Let me start by saying this- unpopular opinion- we are not buffet lovers. Buffets are ok, but we are honestly big foodies and buffets never really give us what we are looking for in terms of variety and flavor. That being said, we really enjoyed this buffet. With some standard buffet fare, along with more exotic choices as well as a made to order omelet station, this buffet was definitely one we would try again. We absolutely loved the red velvet Mickey Waffles with coconut syrup- I could eat this all day! And we loved the variety of foods available in this buffet.
From loco moco to carved meats to fresh fruit and pastries, we thought the variety at Makahiki was pretty extensive and there was something pretty much anyone could enjoy!
Meeting characters at Makahiki
Many people book Makahiki specifically for the fact that you can meet characters during your meal, so let me explain how it works! First, when you check in, you’ll get straight into a line to meet the main mouse himself, Mickey. It’s a really beautiful background outside and there are Photopass Photographers there if you are using that service. After getting your photo with Mickey, you’ll go back into the restaurant and wait to be seated.
After you’re seated, and once you get your food, more characters come around to your table. We got to meet Minnie, Goofy and Pluto, but were told sometimes the character lineup change. They’re all decked out in island attire and we had a blast meeting them all!
Is Makahiki worth it?
Makahiki is one of only 2 sit down restaurants at Aulani. And it will cost you. Breakfast will run you $41 per adult and $29 per child, while dinner will cost $54 for adults and $27 for kids. If you’re traveling with a large party, that can really add up. But at the same time, it is the only buffet available on property, so if you’re a buffet lover, you can easily justify the cost. It’s also the only character dining experience on property, so if you love Disney Character dining, then again, this is a great choice for you.
A lot of people are under the assumption that this is the only time you can meet these characters in these outfits, however that’s not true. There are other opportunities to meet them, but this does add to the convenience by combining it with a meal. In addition to meeting the characters, the entertainment is super fun too, so if you’re into entertainment with dinner, then this will be a win for you.
Whether or not it’s worth it to you is really dependent on a lot of things. Do you love buffets? Character meals? Disney style entertainment? Are you on a budget? All of these things will determine whether or not this meal is a must do or a pass.
Do you need reservations at Makahiki?
While reservations are highly recommended, especially during high season, it is possible to get a table without one. While we were waiting to check in, there were a couple of cancellations, so if you’re lucky, they may have availability if you don’t make a reservation. However, if your heart is set on eating here, we highly recommend making a reservation. You can always cancel it later!
You can make reservations online or call (808)674-6200.
Do you need to be a guest of Aulani to dine at Makahiki?
Nope! You don’t have to be staying at Aulani to eat at any of their restaurants or shop at the shops.
We loved Makahiki at Aulani and would go back again! Even though we aren’t big buffet fans, we would love to try dinner here next time. Between the fun atmosphere and the great food, Makahiki was such a fun and delicious experience for us and made for a lot of great memories during our trip to Aulani.